This is the intro to my memoirs. Clearly I am pretentious!
“Boy” It seems funny to me that I would be identified by a word I have yet to fully identify with. I was born on June 29th, 1975 in Louisville, KY and was christened Jason Gregory after my dad. However I am one of those people that many a nickname has been bestowed. “Jake” after my late grandfather, which is most of my family calls me, “Bubba” which is horrifying but my nieces and nephews have stuck me with it. “Cooper,” my last name, which is apparently one of those sir names that serve as a single moniker amongst friends and female PE teachers. “Coop” if they are really close friends. Once after an incident involving a bad bowl haircut my sister Renee started referring to me as “Dot”, implying that I looked like Dorothy Hamil. However most of my life I have simply been referred to as Boy.
“This is for Boy”
“What is Boy doing?”
In all honesty I was probably about thirteen before I truly realized I was a boy and should probably at least pretend to act like one. The first five or six years of my life I spent wearing pajama bottoms on my head for long hair. When my sister Alli and I would play house I would insist my make-believe name be Julie. Alli would be the mom and would give in to my demand to be called Julie only if I agreed to pretend I was adopted. I am not sure playing house is supposed to be so complicated, but that's how we rolled! We used our whole basement including the little crawl space our laundry chute emptied into. We would use these funky old lanterns which I still can’t figure out why we had and rusty old pans of water which we would pretend was soup. Highly clever children were we. Those were happy years playing house, playing Barbies, playing Star Wars, learning how to ride a bike, and to roller-skate. There is quite a bit of photographic evidence of these activities in which the pajama bottoms are in their rightful place on my head. If the rest of my family found me a little bit strange I never caught on.
Being the youngest and only son following three daughters I was born with expectations thrust upon me. Every year on my birthday my mother tells me that the day I was born was the happiest and most content she ever was in her entire life. Why shouldn’t she have been? She had a hard working husband, three beautiful little girls, and finally, the answer to my parent’s prayers a perfect baby boy. Little did my mother know that in just a few short years the husband would slowly disappear, a shadow would fall upon one of the little girls, and the perfect baby boy would rebel almost instantly against the title.